Star Wars & 9 More Film Franchises With Multiple "Trilogies" – CBR

Star Wars is a franchise that has released multiple trilogies though it isn’t the only series that has grown beyond the standard one-trilogy format.
Fans have grown accustomed to successful movies that launch hit trilogies and franchises, though over the years this has grown to include more than one series of films or “trilogies.” It’s not unheard of for movie franchises to now release more than one trilogy to capitalize on the ongoing success of the series.
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Sometimes a series may overstay its welcome and risk jumping the shark, but some franchises still have fans eagerly anticipating the next entry even after multiple trilogies. The Star Wars franchise is perhaps the most famous example of this, though it isn’t the only film series that has grown well past the usual single trilogy.
When Star Wars was first released in 1977, it was a surprise hit that set up not just a trilogy of movies but an entire franchise that would become known as “The Skywalker Saga.” Episode IV: A New Hope placed the original trilogy in the middle of the story which was followed by The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The prequel series didn’t hit theaters until three decades later when Episode I: The Phantom Menace began the saga. It was followed by Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith before leading back into the original trilogy. Finally, the sequel series debuted in 2015 with Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which then completed the saga with The Last Jedi and Rise of the Skywalker. 
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the largest shared collections of movies which first launched in 2008 with Iron Man. As the MCU introduced new characters in solo movies and team films, the trilogies began adding up.
Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all received their own trilogy, as did The Avengers team-up movies. Heroes like Ant-ManSpider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy are all about to complete trilogies in their own franchises that continue to tie into the larger MCU storyline, which is only set to get larger over the next few years and beyond.
Another long-running series is the sci-fi hit Star Trek, which started on television before arriving in theaters with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The Original Series of characters starred in two trilogies that ended with 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
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Star Trek continued on TV with series like Star Trek: The Next Generation, and that era of characters also released a quadrilogy of movies beginning with Generations in 1994 and ending with Nemesis in 2002. The franchise was then rebooted by J.J Abrams in 2009 with Star Trek that explored the Kelvin timeline, which (seemingly) ended with Star Trek Beyond in 2016.
Peter Jackson directed the highly-anticipated live-action adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s hugely popular book series, The Lord of the Rings. Each book was adapted to its own movie, beginning with The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, The Two Towers in 2002, and The Return of the King in 2003.
Jackson returned to Tolkien’s world to tell the opening story of the saga that was explored in The Hobbit. Jackson extended the storylines of the book into three movies as well. An Unexpected Journey hit theaters in 2012, followed by 2013’s The Desolation of Smaug and 2014’s The Battle of the Five Armies. Both trilogies also released extended editions to add even more material to an already hefty amount of film.
Most fans wouldn’t have expected 2001’s The Fast and the Furious to launch such a long-running and successful franchise after sequels like 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious or 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. While the trilogy seemingly ended there, 2009’s Fast & Furious brought back the original cast and breathed new life into the franchise.
Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 further reworked the original premise and launched yet another trilogy with Furious 7 in 2015, The Fate of the Furious in 2017 and F9 in 2021, with additional entries and sequels to spin-offs like Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw planned for the future to further grow the surprising hit franchise.
J.K Rowling’s incredibly popular Harry Potter book series was adapted to live-action in 2001 with The Philosopher’s Stone, which was followed by seven movies almost every year until The Deathly Hallows Part II hit theaters in 2011. While the book series ended there, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter continued with a new story in 2016.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them explored the past of Harry Potter’s magical universe. The Fantastic Beasts franchise continued with 2018’s The Crimes of Grindlewald with a third movie scheduled for 2022, as well as two additional movie entries that were announced by Rowling as well to further grow the already large franchise.
While the incredibly large collection of James Bond movies doesn’t quite fit into the usual understanding of trilogies, it’s still one of the largest connected movie franchises that have been releasing entries since 1962’s Dr. No. Sean Connery starred as Bond in seven movies, then Roger Moore took over as the character for seven films after George Lazenby briefly took on the role in 1969.
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Pierce Brosnan then appeared in a quadrilogy of films that began with GoldenEye in 1995 before Daniel Craig took on the role in 2006’s Casino Royale. Craig starred in a follow-up trilogy of movies that will culminate with the upcoming No Time To Die, though the Bond franchise is expected to continue with yet another new actor.
Director Tim Burton brought the Caped Crusader to the big screen in 1989’s Batman starring Michael Keaton. The successful movie launched a quadrilogy that continued with 1992’s Batman Returns before Joel Schumacher took over for 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin.
Christopher Nolan then rebooted the franchise with Batman Begins in 2005 that continued with The Dark Knight in 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. The franchise was rebooted again by Zack Snyder in the DCEU as a part of his overall plans for Justice League that featured the character in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Andy Muschietti’s upcoming The Flash.
Bryan Singer brought the X-Men to the big screen in 2000, kicking off a long-running franchise that continued with 2003’s X2: X-Men United and 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand from director Brett Ratner. Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine also received a trilogy that began with 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and ended in 2017 with Logan.
Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class launched a prequel quadrilogy that continued with 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. The franchise ended in 2019 with Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix. While spin-off The New Mutants only received one film, 2016’s Deadpool is currently in production on a third movie set in the MCU.
Tom Cruise has starred in the long-running spy franchise that also served as a remake of the original Mission: Impossible TV show. The first movie hit theaters in 1996 and led to a standard trilogy that seemingly ended with 2006’s Mission: Impossible III. 
However, 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol reignited the franchise and set up a new trilogy that continued with 2015’s Rogue Nation and 2018’s Fallout. Two additional movies in the franchise are slated for 2022 and 2023 to further extend the hit franchise.
NEXT: Mad Max & 9 Other Movie Franchises With Decades Between Sequels
Entertainment reporter, writer, and all-around geek, Scoot Allan has written for print and online media sources like Geek Magazine, GeekExchange, GrizzlyBomb, WhatCulture, and the Urban 30 before joining CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant and The Gamer as a staff writer. He enjoys salad but prefers french fries.


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